Social Security Disability Benefits for Residents of Puerto Rico

Posted December 16, 2016 by Premier Disability Services, LLC® There are two different types of Social Security Disability benefits available to most US citizens and residents – Title II, or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), benefits and Title XVI, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), benefits. Residents of the territory of Puerto Rico are eligible for SSDI benefits if they have obtained the requisite “working credits” by paying taxes into the Social Security system; however, they are not eligible to receive SSI payments.

The application process for residents of Puerto Rico is largely similar to that of residents of the 50 states. The first stage of the Social Security Disability application process takes a Puerto Rico resident approximately 3-4 months to complete. More than 50% of applications are denied at this stage. If you are denied, you may file an appeal. The first stage of appeals is called a Request for Reconsideration, which takes another 3-4 months to complete. Again, the majority of these requests are denied. You may then pursue the second level of disability appeals, which is a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Depending on the area of Puerto Rico that you live in, it can take anywhere from 289 to 550 days to be scheduled for this disability hearing due to the current hearing backlog.

The agency responsible for scheduling hearings for these claimants is known as the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). The area of Puerto Rico that you live in will determine which ODAR office manages your disability case and the backlog of that office determines how long you must wait for your disability hearing to be scheduled.

Having an experienced representative can increase your chances of being awarded benefits by the ALJ deciding your claim. If you are interested in help applying for SSDI benefits in Puerto Rico, please contact us and let us help you apply for Social Security Disability.

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®